Iran committed to making a deal
David Ignatius, The Washington Post – December 15, 2013
Despite nuclear negotiations hitting a “snag” last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters yesterday that Iran is “100 percent” committed to reaching a comprehensive final agreement with the P5+1 (Russia, China, France, the UK, the US + Germany) on its nuclear program.
Sweden: No reason why EU Iran sanctions will not be eased in Jan.
Reuters – December 14, 2013
On Saturday, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt told reporters that he saw “no reason” why the European Union (EU) could not lift some sanctions on Iran as part of a deal between the EU and Iran to curb the latter’s nuclear program. Next week, the 28 EU foreign ministers will meet to discuss a proposal put forward by the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton that would lift some EU sanctions on Iran.
Iran Says U.S. Move Puts Nuclear Deal in Jeopardy
Farnaz Fassihi and Laurence Norman, The Wall Street Journal – December 13, 2013
On Saturday, Iran cut off ongoing nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 in protest over the US expansion of a blacklist of individuals and organizations accused of aiding Iran in skirting current sanctions. Iranian officials immediately stated that the interim Geneva deal reached last month was in jeopardy. US Secretary of State John Kerry remained confident that talks would resume after the “folks” involved had taken a moment “to consult” each other.
Saudi Prince Criticizes Obama Administration, Citing Indecision in Mideast
Steven Erlanger, The New York Times – December 15, 2013
The former director general of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency Prince Turki al-Faisal has criticized the Obama administration for failing to assure US allies in the Middle East of US commitments to the region. According to Prince Turki al-Faisal, the administration’s recent actions towards Syria and Iran have led to a loss of US credibility in the region.
U.S. Nuclear-Arms Cost Estimate Jumps Up $27 Billion
Diane Barnes, Global Security Newswire – December 13, 2013
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report on Friday highlighting the huge increase in the 18-year spending outlook for US nuclear arms modernization and maintenance programs. According to the report, the figure has shot up $27.1 billion and has the potential to increase even more.
Rep. Fleischmann comments on UPF
Oakridger.com – December 13, 2013
Last week, Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) submitted comments to the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board at their annual hearing on safety and emergency preparedness. Congressman Fleischmann said that it is “crucial that we move forward with proper oversight to ensure that the Uranium Processing Facility is built to safely serve out nation for decades to come.”
Kerry says North Korea’s leader reckless, ruthless
Reuters – December 15, 2013
Last week, the powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was executed. US Secretary of State John Kerry responded to the news by describing Kim Jong Un as a reckless and insecure leader. Secretary Kerry also said that the action highlighted the need to continue to hold a unified stand against the North Korean nuclear program.
Bipartisan Bill Filed to Heighten Oversight of U.S. Nuclear Trade
Elaine M. Grossman, Global Security Newswire – December 13, 2013
A group of members of the House of Representatives introduced a bill on Friday aimed at alleviating concerns regarding the Obama administration’s current nuclear trade policy. According to the bill’s sponsers, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), the bill will “protect against the threat of nuclear proliferation.”